Volunteer honored with state award

Saturday, September 8, 2007

A woman described as a volunteering dynamo was awarded the Missouri Lieutenant Governor's Senior Service Award on Friday.

The quarterly award was presented to Theresa "Tess" Mahaffey at the Cassville Senior Center, which is where Tess and her husband, Jake, volunteer hundreds of hours each year.

"When I came here three years ago, I immediately noticed this woman who was full of energy, and that was Tess," said Linda Parker, Cassville Senior Center administrator, who nominated Tess for the service award. "Tess is just amazing and it's amazing what she can get accomplished."

Tess received an official declaration from Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, a Senior Service Award lapel pin and special recognition at the State Capital.

In accepting her award, Tess included her husband in the honor.

"I just want to thank my husband of 63 years who's been my best friend and guide," said Tess. "I could not have survived a day without him."

Parker agrees that Tess and Jake make quite a team.

"Her and her husband both have been awesome. They make a great team," said Parker. "I really admire their energy and the things they've been able to get done for this Center."

According to Parker, Tess volunteers over 750 hours each year. She has served as the Center's activities director, as a member of the Center's board of directors and has been actively involved in Miles for Meals, the annual bird house auction, the annual garage sale and just about every other activity the Center sponsors.

"She's done it all," said Parker. "When Tess gets her mind set, you better stand back. She'll make it happen."

One of Tess' greatest attributes according to Parker is her ability to motivate others.

"She can make people come together," said Parker. "She has a joy about her that inspires others.

"I brag on Tess, but I also have numerous other volunteers that are just as awesome," said Parker. "This Center would not exist if not for our great volunteers."

The Senior Service Award was created by Kinder to promote and highlight the positive accomplishments that Miss-ouri's senior citizens continually provide their local communities.

"There are thousands of Missourians whose lives are touched by the unselfish work and caring hand of someone like Theresa Mahaffey," said Kinder. "She is living proof that volunteering is not just a nice thing to do; it is necessary for the betterment of our communities.

"Tess offers her time and energy, and I am bringing her story to the public, so we can all thank her for this work," Kinder added.

For more information on the Senior Service Award, visit www.ltgov.mo.gov.

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